Xabi Alonso is capable of guiding 'exceptional' Bayer Leverkusen through the remainder of the season unbeaten en route to winning a historic treble.

That is according to former Leverkusen defender Carsten Ramelow, who told Stats Perform that Alonso is undoubtedly the key to their success.

Bayer were crowned champions of Germany at the weekend for the first time in their 120-year history with five Bundesliga games still to play.

Not only have Alonso's side dodged defeat in the league, they have also not lost any of their 14 DFB-Pokal or Europa League matches.

With a 2-0 lead heading into their Europa quarter-final second leg against West Ham, and with Kaiserslautern awaiting them in the domestic cup final, the treble is very much on.

"The season they have played is phenomenal," Ramelow said. "Their streak is sensational and it looks like they will do this until the end. 

"Every team has a bit of a lapse, but Leverkusen have been exceptional in every competition. They can still win everything. Things are looking really good."

Former Real Sociedad B coach Alonso took over Leverkusen in October 2022 with the club second from bottom in the Bundesliga.

The Spaniard guided them to sixth last season and has taken them to the title in his first full campaign at BayArena, ending Bayern's run of 11 successive crowns.

Ramelow, who spent 13 years as a Leverkusen player, has hailed the part Alonso has played in the greatest season in the club's history.

"I heard a lot of people talk about him how much of a worker he is, and that he is also very companionable," Ramelow said. "The whole package is in perfect harmony.

"I think that the coach has big merit in this. When he arrived in Leverkusen, he was facing a few problems, which is normal. 

"I think you have to give managers some time in this day and age. That's also what they did with him. He explained his philosophy and idea very well to the team. 

"The boys execute that really well. And I also think he’s a great guy who acts as an example for his players – both on and off the pitch."

Bayern Munich may always have an "attraction" to coaches but Carsten Ramelow does not expect Germany boss Julian Nagelsmann to return to the Bundesliga giants.

Nagelsmann was dismissed from his role as Bayern coach back in March 2023, as his former side were trying to make ground on Borussia Dortmund in the Bundesliga title race.

Thomas Tuchel was swiftly appointed as his replacement, leading the club to an 11th straight top-flight title last term, but the former Chelsea boss has failed to live up to expectations this season, and will leave at the end of the campaign.

Xabi Alonso rebuffed Bayern's interest to stay at Bayer Leverkusen, and it remains to be seen who the Bundesliga giants will go for as Tuchel's replacement.

Nagelsmann is preparing to lead Germany at Euro 2024, which they will host from June 14, and former international Ramelow cannot see him being enticed back to his old club.

"Quite honestly, it's hard for me to imagine that," Ramelow told Stats Perform when asked about Nagelsmann reuniting with Bayern. 

"I would be surprised. First, he was sacked at Bayern, then he got the chance to coach Germany and now he should return. 

"I think he will stay as Germany head coach. I also think that Bayern has different ideas, so let's be surprised by what they do over the next months."

Nagelsmann oversaw back-to-back friendly victories over France and Netherlands as Germany impressed in the March internationals.

Meanwhile, Tuchel's Bayern are almost out of the running for the Bundesliga title but will hope to reach the Champions League semi-final when Arsenal return to Germany for their finely poised last-eight tie.

Ramelow acknowledged that Bayern remain an attractive proposition for any coach, however.

"I mean everything is possible, sure," he added. "But I think that Nagelsmann has his own ideas and you don't take over as a national team's head coach only for a few months.

"Even though Bayern always has its attraction. But he coached them already and they had their reasons to sack him, so, I would be surprised."

Germany start their Euro 2024 campaign against Scotland at Allianz Arena on June 14, after friendlies against Ukraine and Greece to warm up for the tournament.

Toni Kroos' comeback from international retirement started with two impressive results but Carsten Ramelow remains "sceptical" over Germany's Euro 2024 hopes.

Real Madrid midfielder Kroos reversed his decision to retire from Julian Nagelsmann's national team, returning in March before back-to-back victories over France and Netherlands.

In doing so, the 34-year-old – who had not played on the international stage for three years prior – equalled Jurgen Klinsmann's 108-match tally, with only seven players now having more appearances for Germany.

Kroos was an integral figure in Nagelsmann's midfield as the Euro 2024 hosts swept aside France 2-0 in a Lyon friendly before overcoming Netherlands 2-1 in a Frankfurt meeting.

Yet former Germany midfielder Ramelow remains unsure whether Nagelsmann's side will hit similar heights when it comes to hosting the European Championships in June.

"I don't know what happened with the team in the March games but the results were good," former Bayer Leverkusen player Ramelow told Stats Perform.

"In Germany, you now tend to say we will win the Euros… We also play at home, so we are European Champions already – that's always interesting how the media sees this.

"The positive things were the recent results and the performances of the national team. They have improved drastically, also the overall mentality.

"Whether it was the impact of Toni Kroos, we will see. He is a player that has held a very high level over the years with Real Madrid, no doubt.

"He can definitely help the team, but whether that is something for the future remains to be seen. I am still sceptical because we had many years where nothing worked and two games where they played well."

Ramelow was at least pleased to see Germany find basics such as "passion, heart and commitment" in the friendly victories, though insists time will tell on their success and Kroos' performances.

"[The results] also created euphoria, which is good," the versatile 46-cap Germany defender added. "But in the end, we have to wait for the tournament to start.

"Then we will see if all of that still works between Toni Kroos and the rest of the team. I think it's too early to claim we are back on track and will play a successful tournament.

"Regarding Toni Kroos, I also have to say I was a bit surprised about his comeback, because they attempted to start all over again."

Germany start their Euro 2024 campaign against Scotland on June 14, though Kroos and his team will face Ukraine and Greece in friendlies before that tournament opener at the Allianz Arena.

Carsten Ramelow believes Germany are being held back by a mentality issue as the former international warned: "Talent alone doesn't win you games."

Germany lost 2-0 at home to Colombia in a friendly on Tuesday – a third defeat from their last four matches.

The other game in that run finished 3-3, with Germany forging a late comeback to draw with Ukraine in a charity match.

Hansi Flick's side flopped in the 2022 World Cup, too, going out in the group stage, and Ramelow – a World Cup runner-up in 2002 – says German football as a whole has a mentality problem.

"I think there's multiple issues. That was not just about a bad performance in Qatar. The problems lie much deeper," he told Stats Perform.

"This is what aggravates everything. Having seen the game yesterday, I have only seen 15 minutes, that was enough. It shows which state the team has been in for weeks and months. Or maybe you have to say years.

"In that regard, we have big problems in Germany concerning youth players. I think [the team] lacks mentality. Talent alone doesn't win you games. Talent alone also doesn't bring you team spirit.

"People talk a lot about team spirit. Where is that team spirit? All those years, we have been saying that we have great talent. Maybe that's true but after this long period of suffering, you have to recognise that we have a lot of talent, but as I said, it lacks mentality, it lacks team spirit.

"We are not able to form a team, a unit. Be it Hansi Flick or any other coach, and you can see that in many Bundesliga teams. I think mentality is very, very important. A manager once told me something I will never forget: 'Passion is more important than skill'.

"You have to see how the players will develop. I don't know when it continues, in September or October. The ones that will be available then. There is quality but currently but at the moment this is not enough to compete with teams like [Colombia] or Ukraine and Poland."

Ramelow sympathises with Flick, and is unsure a change of coach would necessarily result in a change of fortunes. The pressure, though, is on ahead of Euro 2024.

"I think we all agree that the coach and his staff have an important role," he added. "We know what the business is like and the fact that the manager has to listen to a lot of criticism now is justified.

"He also accepts that. I see a lot of helplessness right now. No one in the interviews can say how things will continue. We all know we have good young players, which is fine, but to reach the final stages of an international tournament again is being considered very difficult. But what is the solution now?

"I feel like the manager had a lot of helplessness. He won't give up and it will go on as he said. He wants to prepare well for the next games. His task is to put a good team together and to bring back passion and mentality. You have to see a unit.

"Mentality is also a matter of character. A coach can barely train that. You either have it or you don't but he has to form a team and the results have to be good. I'm not saying anything new here, the business is tough. I think you could put anyone else on the touchline, it would be difficult for every coach."

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